Thursday, December 8, 2011

Your Backyard Woods - How do I get started?

The first step requires a pencil and paper, and some time to think. You may want to sit down with your family and talk about your backyard woods.
Answers to questions such as these will help you to develop a vision for your backyard woods:
• Why do we have this land?
• What do we like about it?
• What words describe the feelings we have for this land?
• What do we want it to produce?
• What do we want it to look like in 5, 10, and 20 years from now?

What are my objectives for my woods?
The most common objectives for backyard woods are to improve wildlife habitat, aesthetics, and recreation. Other objectives include tree value and special forest products. You can have more than one objective. Maintaining a healthy woods and a safe environment should always be included among your objectives.
To reach your vision for your backyard woods, develop specific objectives that will help you identify the actions you need to take. Here are a couple of examples:
• It is not enough to say you want more wildlife. You need to decide which animals are most desirable, and whether improved bird watching, hunting, or just a greater variety of animals is your objective.
• Perhaps natural beauty is what you want. Your objectives may be to improve the view from your house or possibly to add some color or different shapes to your backyard woods by planting a variety of trees.
With backyard woods management, achieving several objectives at once is usually easy. For example, when you are cutting firewood, which of these would you say you are doing: producing fuel, providing space for your favorite trees to grow, making brush piles for rabbits, or enjoying yourself? Many backyard woods owners would answer, "All of these!"
Talk with your neighbors and ask them about their plans for their woods. Working together on similar objectives can make the task easier and greatly increase the impact on wildlife and other values you share.

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